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ILRI report warns country to face milk shortage of 61.3 million litres next year

By Kepher otieno | May 17th 2016
By Kepher otieno | May 17th 2016

Kenya is likely to face a shortage of milk from next year, a value chain analysis done by livestock research experts has shown.

While the country is currently self-reliant in milk production, it is projected that it will have a deficit of 61.3 million litres by 2017, and 382 million litres by 2022.

According to the analysis done by USAID-KAVES, Nairobi, supported by USAid, consumption of milk and dairy products rises each day.

This means the Government will need to embark on aggressive dairy farming to overcome a looming milk crisis, the report says.

It noted that the high demand for milk is being driven by the country’s increasing population and changes in dietary habits.

Yet, in the face of this demand, the researchers found a decline in the quality of dairy breeds, poor animal husbandry, lack of storage and processing facilities, poor linkages between smallholder dairy farmers and markets.

They said they did not want to raise alarm, but the statistics were challenge to dairy farmers to step up production, and also push the Government into taking pro-active action.

“Unless aggressive dairy farming is encouraged among households, there is a likelihood that Kenyans will experience a heavy milk shortage,” noted the analysis.

Lasting solution

USAid said it was working closely with select county administrations to find lasting and sustainable ways to boost milk production.

The American agency’s East Africa mission director, Karen Freeman, said the shortage was likely to spiral to neighbouring countries, and her organisation had set aside millions of shillings to help avert a crisis.

“There are large deficits in the African region, with regional demand for milk outstripping the supply,” said Ms Freeman.

The agency is partnering with counties with viable potential to produce milk to enable them focus on value addition, driving production for commercial growth.

Kenya is ranked the most developed dairy industry in East and Central Africa, with the sector valued at $1.9 billion (Sh191.3 billion), accounting for 8 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The Kenya Dairy Board estimates per capita milk consumption at 110 litres a year, with an annual growth rate of 2.3 per cent.

USAid plans to link more than 20,000 small-scale dairy farmers to diverse markets. Freeman said the agency incorporated governors in its Feed the Future Plan, which is aimed at reviving dairy farming.

Migori County Governor Okoth Obado said his administration was working on viable ways of improving animal nutrition and gross margins per cow to ensure milk security in the county.

Kisumu County Governor Jack Ranguma and Homa Bay’s Cyprian Awiti pledged to increase value addition by retraining farmers on modern dairy production techniques.

The governors added that they would establish nutritional departments and partner with ILRI to implement nutrition value in dairy farming. On its part, the research institute pledged to train county health workers and farmers on best practices.

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